As a person who has been very introverted most of her life due to crippling social anxiety and just a general lack of social skills, online dating became the best option for me at the end of my senior year of high school. I was kind of sick of having feelings not reciprocated and this was the only way that I could ensure that they would. Thus began my wonderful journey into the big, grandiose world of dating apps.
1. Yubo: the dating app for making friends.
This was the very beginning of my desperate conquest for love. My best friend originally brought this one to my attention. Yubo seemed like a very safe option as opposed to Tinder (more on that later). I began swiping and the first thing I noticed was that this one was not based on location. I saw people from all over the world, whether it be ten minutes away or overseas.
However, it was actually pretty successful for the most part.
The first person I genuinely talked to on the app was a girl. I can't quite remember her name since I deleted the app many moons ago, but she sent me this little list. It had about forty numbers and each had a little prompt on them. What would happen is that you would pick a number and the other person would have to answer it. They consisted of tame things such as what your favorite color was or how old you were. The thing with the one she sent me is it did have some more risque things such as "describe your first time [having sex]" or "have you ever skinny dipped?" Of course, I was quite new to all of this, so it was a little intimidating. What did I gather from talking to this girl? It is that a simple ice breaker like that is mainly just to have a singular conversation and never talk again, or at least that was my experience.
The next significant person I had talked to was a guy that lived about twenty minutes from me. For the sake of privacy, I am going to call him Gerald. Gerald was about a year older than I was and was actually a really good friend at the time. Of course, just because this was a social app and he was fairly handsome in my eyes, I actually was very attracted to him. We flirted on and off for about two weeks-ish before it reached its end. Granted, he was not a very responsive person and was actually quite dry conversation-wise, but it was the most attention I'd gotten from a guy in my entire life, so I took it. What I got out of talking to Gerald was that you should not settle for the bare minimum or someone who barely gives you the time of day.
Now it is time to talk about someone who is still a great friend of mine. Again, I don't want to exploit him, so his name is going to be Floyd. Floyd is all the way from the great state of Washington. Just like the girl from earlier, this relationship started with one of those prompt things. However, the conversation did not end there. In fact, the conversation is still going to this day. There is not much more to be said about him, but I did learn from talking to Floyd is that friendships can spawn from anywhere.
2. Her: a dating and social app for LGBTQ+ people (that's me!).
Yes, I am a pansexual person. Let's just get that out of the way now.
I got on the app shortly after going on Tinder (again, that is an entirely different animal that will be discussed shortly). Most of the girls on other apps such as Yubo or Tinder were not looking for a queer relationship, but a queer experience. Her seemed like the best option at this point if I really wanted a girlfriend. For the short time I actually used this app, I met one person that was actually decent.
For her own privacy, I am going to call her Sarah. I matched with Sarah almost immediately and we hit it off. So, just like any normal people that are attracted to each other, we added each other on Snapchat. We had a fairly good conversation and then stopped talking for a few hours. I thought this would be the end of our relationship and I was totally prepared to keep going on my quest for someone to call my girlfriend.
But oh, no. That was not the end of it.
Later that night, while I was chatting with someone I met from Tinder, Sarah messaged me again just saying hi. Being a decent human being, I said hi back and asked how she was. She asked if she could call me. It was a little weird, but I said it was fine.
That was a two-hour conversation. Two hours of her basically telling her life story. I never learned so much about a single person in that short amount of time. I'm really not sure why she was so comfortable talking to me about all of this deep stuff, but I guess I was very approachable to these types of issues.
So what's the moral of using a queer dating app? I guess it was since we were both of similar sexuality, it was very easy to come to me about certain issues. In the end, Her taught me that sometimes a person is just so comforting that talking to them can become second nature.
3. Tinder: The grand-daddy of dating apps.
Alright, buckle up. This is going to be a long one.
Tinder was only downloaded to my phone because my friend told me to do it. I was extremely reluctant about this app because I heard some very interesting things about it, to say the least. Everyone and their mother has this app. It was installed right after I got out of a really bad situation with somebody on Yubo (too long of a situation to explain), and I seriously thought about only keeping it for a week then living the rest of my life loveless until I settled for someone mediocre later on.
...then I met Eli.
Here is the thing with Eli. I'm not sure why we started talking other than we both swiped right on each other. He messaged me first, "What's poppin B?"
*pause for laughter*
I did not really think anything of it. I thought this was going to be another situation where we talk for like two days, he gets mad at me because I don't give him what he wants, and then we never speak again. Well, that is actually not what happened.
The exact opposite happened, actually. We actually became extremely close and were even an established couple for three whole months. It was nothing less than magical at the time. It was my very first real relationship. I thought I was going to spend a few more years with this man.
It's a little bit of a long story, but things did not end up working out and we barely made it 100 days.
All in all, Tinder did teach me about love and how difficult long-distance love can be. Though, it let me experience love, and I'm glad I know what that feeling is like now.
Dating apps can be very intimidating, scary, and anxiety-inducing. However, despite all that, it can be a learning experience and genuinely can change the way you think about people, too. It has given me some perspective about how people behave when put in a romantic or stressful situation (and if you're like me, the two are directly related).
I'm not sure what people are supposed to take out of my experiences as a person late in the game of dating, but I do know that it is an experience I had and one that many others can relate to.